Jake Pfeifer discussed the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) world assessment in his Jan. 9 editorial. His article identifies locations around the globe where the United States faces Tier I (high) threats in the coming year. While awareness of worldwide threats is useful in being an informed citizen, neither the actual CFR assessment nor Pfeifer’s analysis go beyond simply identifying the nation state/location. Knowing where a threat exists and knowing why a threat exists are two distinctly different things.
The question I would ask Mr. Pfeifer is: Is it simply the current leadership of these nation states that pose the greatest threat or is there a deeper ideology/worldview in these regions that is the underlying more serious threat to the United States? All of the Tier I threats mentioned in the article exist in, or emanate from, the Middle East with the single exception of North Korea. Secondly, all the threat locations mentioned in the assessment are sparked by two distinctly different ideologies: An Islamic worldview in the Middle East and a secular Communistic worldview in the case of North Korea. The majority of the Tier I threats, whether it be the war with ISIS in Syria, the conflict in Iraq, the conflict with Iran, the terrorism in Egypt, the conflict on the Turkish border, refugee problems in Europe, or the terrorist threats on US soil, all exist as a result of people “acting” on the ideologies of the Islamic worldview. Conversely, the threats in North Korea are driven by a worldview that is secular, Communistic, and authoritarian. History shows that nearly all the world conflicts from the mid-20th century (1945) until today have pitted nation states and people groups from three distinct ideological views against each other: Western Democracy/Christendom, Secularism/Communism, and Islam.
The majority of conflicts in this period resulted from a clash of these ideologies: Korea, Viet Nam, the Cold War, the crisis with Cuba and Nicaragua, the conflicts in Angola, the Philippine insurrection, and the first Afghanistan war all resulted from Communistic aggression while the conflicts with Libya, Lebanon, the first Gulf War, the Iraq war, the second Afghanistan war, the War on Terror, the terrorism in Eastern Africa and Somalia, and the Israeli conflicts, all resulted from conflicts with Islamic aggression.
In short, Western Civilization has been at war with two distinct ideologies for the past 65 years. I need to caveat, that some historians would categorize Western Civilization’s “opposition” in these conflicts, as unwarranted aggression on our part. Why is it important to understand the ideological differences that separate this world? Simply put, it enables us to know why we are in conflict. I have heard the arguments about oil, energy, resources, food or land being the underlying source of most world conflicts. Certainly, those things have been fought over…but they were only the catalyst in most wars. In my view, wars and conflicts are fought and will continue to be fought in the 21st Century because we do not have a uniform social order worldwide (a concept advocated by George Soros in his book The Crisis of Global Capitalism).
It is this desire for a uniform social order that has driven the “wrong headed” U.S. policy of attempting to overthrow foreign governments/instigate democratic revolutions around the globe. So, am I advocating for a uniform social order? Absolutely not... I cherish the freedom of choice we have under Western Democracy and do not want to live under a forced uniform social order (such as Islam and Communism). I am convinced that it is our desire for freedom that has driven Western Civilization to oppose the aggression of secularism/Communism for the past 65 years. Conversely, it is this same desire for freedom and protection of our Christian/democratic worldview that drove Western Civilization’s wars/conflicts with Islam over the past centuries. Defense of our worldview and way of life against “opposition” by Communism and the Islamic Caliphate constitutes in my mind, Just War.
The United States and Western Democracies were never afraid to acknowledge that we were at war with Communism (one President even calling them the Evil Empire). Why is it that we cannot bring ourselves to acknowledge in this current crisis, that the War on Terror is simply an extension of a 1400 year long conflict with the Islamic worldview? Does this mean we demean and target innocent Muslims as our enemy? No. Does this mean we reject Muslims in Western Civilization who are willing to cherish our Constitutional freedoms above their own Sharia Law and Islamic worldview? No. It does however, mean that we understand that the Islamic worldview is a great threat to the Constitutional ideals and values we hold dear in Western Civilization. We live at the most dangerous time in my lifetime…even more dangerous than the Cold War. The beginning of being able to defend our ideals and way of life starts by recognizing the threat we face. That threat, in my opinion, is the radical social order ideals of the Islamic worldview.